A rhizomatous and stoloniferous herb of swamps and fens, forming large stands in shallow water in ditches, rivers, lakes and ponds; also in brackish swamps and lagoons, and in freshwater seepages on sheltered sea-cliffs. It is frequently planted beside artificial water bodies. Generally lowland, but reaching 470 m on Brown Clee Hill (Salop).
The distribution is broadly stable, though local losses have been noted, such as the die-back of reed-beds in Broadland in the last fifty years. However, it has increased in some areas due to eutrophication, and some reed-beds have been created for breeding birds.
Circumpolar Wide-temperate element.
Light (Ellenberg): 7
Moisture (Ellenberg): 10
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 2
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.7
Annual Precipitation (mm): 1055
Height (cm): 270
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Life Form - secondary
Comment on Life Form
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2182
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 785
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 11
Atlas Change Index: 0.43
Weighted Changed Factor: 15
Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)
Atlas text references
1988. Comparative Plant Ecology.
1972. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 128. Phragmites communis Trin. Journal of Ecology. 60:585-610.
1972. The Reed ('Norfolk Reed'), edn 2.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1997. Aquatic plants in Britain and Ireland.